Yellowcake, Yellow Journalism and Android
Mon, Jul 16, 12
In 2006, Vanity Fair summarized how the Bush administration orchestrated a series of thinly disguised propaganda moves to justify the invasion of Iraq:
The War They Wanted, the Lies They Needed
The Bush administration invaded Iraq claiming Saddam Hussein had tried to buy yellowcake uranium in Niger. As much of Washington knew, and the world soon learned, the charge was false. Worse, it appears to have been the cornerstone of a highly successful “black propaganda” campaign with links to the White House.
There were innuendos, Congressional committee “testimonies,” off-the-record briefings, “experts” on TV, Italian connections and enough subterfuge to justify a decent Hollywood movie.
But most of all, there were journalists writing and talking about it everywhere. Without the benefit of fact checking. As “the world soon learned,” the U.S. went on to invade Iraq and, regardless of what you think about that decision, the cost in human lives and treasury has been devastating.
What color is Android?
What, you may ask, does this have to do with Android? Despite the smartphone wars everybody’s talking about, no lives are at stake and nobody’s going to thermonuclear war over Android.
Here’s how the Android yellowcake was sold:
Amazon told us the Kindle Fire was their best selling product on Black Friday and now some early Q4 numbers have arrived. A new report from iSuppli estimates that Amazon will ship 3.9 million units before the end of the year and Digitimes says that number could climb to as high as 5 million.
In a “Report” entitled, “Amazon selling 2,000 Kindle Fires every hour” the mainstream MSNBC.com syndicated a GeekWire.com piece:
Looks like Amazon.com has a hit on its hands, even before its new tablet computer is officially released to consumers.
The Seattle company is selling pre-orders for its new Kindle Fire tablets at a rate of 2,000 an hour, or more than 50,000 per day, according to website Cult of Android, which has gotten its hands on what it describes as internal Amazon inventory documents.
If the report is accurate, and the pace continues, Amazon will have sold 2.5 million Kindle Fires prior to the Nov. 15 launch — outpacing the first month of sales for either the iPad or the iPad 2, according to the site.
which referenced a website called CultofAndroid.com which referenced “leaked” documents:
Even the generally more responsible The Verge couldn’t help itself repeat verbatim those Kindle Fire numbers. Numbers neither it nor any other publication had, because Amazon just doesn’t bother reporting them:
Kindle Fire remains Amazon’s best-selling item, million Kindle per week sales continue
Amazon just announced that it sold more than a million Kindle devices per week throughout December — that includes the Kindle, Kindle Touch, and Kindle Fire tablet. As usual for Amazon, no specific numbers were given, but the company says the Fire remains its best-selling and most-wished-for item, marking some 13 weeks that the Android-powered seven-inch tablet has held the top spot.
Are we there yet?
Indeed, if you read about the Kindle Fire around that time in any number of print or online publications, the unmistakable impression you’d get was: the Kindle Fire was selling in record numbers. So well in fact that same journalists would soon start telling Apple to come out with a 7″ tablet of its own or lose the iPad head-start, just like it “lost” its iPhone advantage.
And yet no journalist had any concrete evidence of the yellowcake: actual Android units sold. Not from Amazon, not from Samsung, not from HTC, not from Google…Nobody has actual Android unit numbers sold, quarter after quarter, in one of the biggest and most lucrative markets anywhere, which they’re supposed to be covering. No journalist has had the gumption to ask Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos or Google CEO Larry Page, “Sir, have you no sha, err, sales numbers to give us?” And keep asking until Amazon and Samsung and HTC and Google tell us just how well they are doing. Where’s the yellowcake?
I am, of course, not the only one on Twitter who objects to this charade of corporate secrecy in the name of openness:
Isn’t it time honorable journalists asked Google, whose mobile operating system was created primarily to harvest users’ private info, to report just how many Android units are actually sold every quarter, lest they be labeled yellow journalists carrying Google’s water in a link-baiting game?